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is a hint, do you make it a plan. We will modify it into as literary and classical a concern as you please, only let us put out our powers upon it, and it will most likely succeed. But you must live in London, and I also, to bring it to bear, and we must keep it a secret.
"As for the living in London, I would make that not difficult to you (if you would allow me), until we could see whether one means or other (the success of the plan, for instance) would not make it quite easy for you, as well as your family; and, in any case, we should have some fun, composing, correcting, supposing, inspecting, and supping together over our lucubrations. If you think this worth a thought, let me know, and I will begin to lay in a small literary capital of composition for the occasion.
“Yours ever affectionately,
"P. S. If you thought of a middle plan between a Spectator and a newspaper, why not?-only not on a Sunday. Not that Sunday is not an excellent day, but it is engaged already. We will call it the Tenda Rossa,' the name Tassoni gave an answer of his in a controversy, in allusion to the delicate hint of Timour the Lame, to his enemies, by a Tenda' of that colour, before he gave battle. Or we will call it 'Gli,' or 'I Carbonari,' if it so please you or any other name full of 'pastime and prodigality,' which you may prefer. Let me have an answer. I conclude poetically, with the bellman, A merry Christmas to you!""
The year 1820 was an era signalised, as will be remembered, by the many efforts of the revolutionary spirit which, at that time, broke forth, like ill-suppressed fire, throughout the greater part of the South of Europe. In Italy, Naples had already raised the Constitutional standard, and her example was fast operating through the whole of that country. Throughout Romagna, secret societies, under the name of Carbonari, had been organised, which waited but the word of their chiefs to break out into open insurrection. We have seen from Lord Byron's Journal in 1814, what intense interest he took in the last struggles of Revolutionary France under Napoleon; and his exclama
1 "In quest' epoca venne a Ravenna di ritorno da Roma e Napoli il mio diletto fratello Pietro. Egli era stato prevenuto da dei nemeci di Lord Byron contro il di lui carattere; molto lo affligeva la mia intimità con lui, e le mie lettere non avevano riuscito a bene distruggere la cattiva impressione ricevuta dei detratteri di Lord Byron. Ma appena lo vidde e lo conobbe egli pure rice
tions, "Oh for a Republic!-'Brutus, thou sleepest!"" show the lengths to which, in theory at least, his political zeal extended. Since then, he had but rarely turned his thoughts to politics; the tame, ordinary vicissitude of public affairs having but little in it to stimulate a mind like his, whose sympathies nothing short of a crisis seemed worthy to interest. This the present state of Italy gave every promise of affording him; and, in addition to the great national cause itself, in which there was every thing that a lover of liberty, warm from the pages of Petrarch and Dante, could desire, he had also private ties and regards to enlist him socially in the contest. The brother of Madame Guiccioli, Count Pietro Gamba, who had been passing some time at Rome and Naples, was now returned from his tour; and the friendly sentiments with which, notwithstanding a natural bias previously in the contrary direction, he at length learned to regard the noble lover of his sister, cannot better be described than in the words of his fair relative herself.
"At this time," says Madame Guiccioli, 'my beloved brother, Pietro, returned to Ravenna from Rome and Naples. He had been prejudiced by some enemies of Lord Byron against his character, and my intimacy with him afflicted him greatly; nor had my letters succeeded in entirely destroying the evil impression which Lord Byron's detractors had produced. No sooner, however, had he seen and known him, than he became inspired with an interest in his favour, such as could not have been produced by mere exterior qualities, but was the result only of that union he saw in him of all that is most great and beautiful, as well in the heart as mind of man. From that moment every former prejudice vanished, and the conformity of their opinions and studies contributed to unite them in a friendship, which only ended with their lives." 1
The young Gamba, who was, at this time, but twenty years of age, with a heart full of all those dreams of the regeneration of Italy, which not only the example of Naples, but the spirit working beneath the surface all around him, inspired, had, together with his father, who was still in the prime of life, become enrolled in the secret bands now organising throughout Romagna, and Lord Byron
vesse quella impressione che non può essere prodotta da dei pregi esteriori, ma solamente dall' unione di tuttociò che vi è di più bello e di più grande nel cuore e nella mente dell' uomo. Svani ogni sua anteriore prevenzione contro di Lord Byron, e la conformità della loro idee e dei studii loro contribuł a stringerli in quella amicizia che non doveva avere fine che colla loro vita."
was, by their intervention, admitted also among the brotherhood. The following heroic Address to the Neapolitan Government (written by the noble poet in Italian, and forwarded, it is thought, by himself to Naples, but intercepted on the way,) will show how deep, how earnest, and expansive was his zeal in that great, general cause of Political Freedom, for which he soon after laid down his life among the marshes of Missolonghi.
"An Englishman, a friend to liberty, having understood that the Neapolitans permit even foreigners to contribute to the good cause, is desirous that they should do him the honour of accepting a thousand louis, which he takes the liberty of offering. Having already, not long since been an ocular witness of the despotism of the Barbarians in the States occupied by them in Italy, he sees, with the enthusiasm natural to a cultivated man, the generous determination of the Neapolitans to assert their well-won independence. As a member of the English House of Peers, he would be a traitor to the principles which placed the reigning family of England on the throne, if he were not grateful for the noble lesson so lately given both to people and to kings. The offer which he desires to make is small in itself, as must always be that presented from an individual to a nation; but he trusts that it will not be the last they will receive from his countrymen. His distance from the frontier, and the feeling of his personal incapacity to contribute efficaciously to the service of the nation, prevents him from proposing himself as worthy of the lowest commission, for which experience and talent might be requisite. But if, as a mere volunteer, his presence were not a burden to whomsoever he might serve under, he would repair to whatever place the Neapolitan Government might point out, there to obey the orders and participate in the dangers of his commanding officer, without any
1 A draft of this Address, in his own handwriting, was found among his papers. He is supposed to have intrusted it to a professed agent of the Constitutional Government of Naples, who had waited upon him secretly at Ravenna, and, under the pretence of having been waylaid and robbed, induced his Lordship to supply him with money for his return. This man turned out afterwards to have been a spy; and the above paper, if confided to him, fell most probably into the hands of the Pontifical Government.
2" Un Inglese amico della libertà avendo sentito che i Napolitani permettono anche agli stranieri di contribuire alla buona causa, bramerebbe l'onore di vedere accettata la sua offerta di mille luigi, la quale egli azzarda di fare. Già testimonio oculare non molto fa della tirannia dei Barbari negli stati da loro occupati nell' Italia, egli vede con tutto l'entusiasmo di un uomo ben nato la generosa determinazione dei Napolitani per confermare la loro bene acquistata indipendenza. Membro della Camera
other motive than that of sharing the destiny of a brave nation, defending itself against the self-called Holy Alliance, which but combines the vice of hypocrisy with despotism."
It was during the agitation of this crisis, while surrounded by rumours and alarms, and expecting, every moment, to be summoned into the field, that Lord Byron commenced the Journal which I am now about to give; and which it is impossible to peruse, with the recollection of his former Diary of 1814 in our minds, without reflecting how wholly different, in all the circumstances connected with them, were the two periods at which these records of his passing thoughts were traced. The first he wrote at a time which may be considered, to use his own words, as "the most poetical part of his whole life,” — not, certainly, in what regarded the powers of his genius, to which every succeeding year added new force and range, but in all that may be said to constitute the poetry of character,-those fresh, unworldly feelings of which, in spite of his early plunge into experience, he still retained the gloss, and that ennobling light of imagination, which, with all his professed scorn of mankind, still followed in the track of his affections, giving a lustre to every object on which they rested. There was, indeed, in his misanthropy, as in his sorrows, at that | period, to the full as much of fancy as of reality; and even those gallantries and loves in which he at the same time entangled himself partook equally, as I have endeavoured to show, of the same imaginative character. Though brought early under the dominion of the senses, he had been also early rescued from this thraldom by, in the first place, the satiety such excesses never fail to produce, and, at no long interval after, by this series of half-fanciful attachments which, though in their moral consequences to society, perhaps, still more mischievous, had the varnish at
dei Pari della nazione Inglese egli sarebbe un traditore ai principii che hanno posto sul trono la famiglia regnante d'Inghilterra se non riconoscesse la bella lezione di bel nuovo data ai popoli ed ai Re. L'offerta che egli brama di presentare è poca in se stessa, come bisogna che sia sempre quella di un individuo ad una nazione, ma egli spera che non sarà l'ultima dalla parte dei suoi compatriotti. La sua lontananza dalle frontiere, e il sentire ato della sua poca capacità personale di contribuire efficacimente a servire la nazione gl' impedisce di proporsi come degno della più piccola commissione che domanda dell' esperienza e del talento. Ma, se come semplice volontario la sua presenza non fosse un incomodo a quello che l'accetasse egli riparebbe a qualunque luego indicato dal Governo Napolitano, per ubbidire agli ordial e participare ai pericoli del suo superiore, senza avere altri motivi che quello di dividere il destino di una brava nazione resistendo alla se dicente Santa Allianza la quale aggiunge l'ippocrisia al despotismo."
least of refinement on the surface, and by the novelty and apparent difficulty that invested them served to keep alive that illusion of imagination from which such pursuits derive their sole redeeming charm.
With such a mixture, or rather predominance, of the ideal in his loves, his hates, and his sorrows, the state of his existence at that period, animated as it was, and kept buoyant, by such a flow of success, must be acknowledged, even with every deduction for the unpicturesque associations of a London life, to have been, in a high degree, poetical, and to have worn round it altogether a sort of halo of romance, which the events that followed were but too much calculated to dissipate. By his marriage, and its results, he was again brought back to some of those bitter realities of which his youth had had a foretaste. Pecuniary embarrassment-that ordeal, of all others, the most trying to delicacy and high-mindedness now beset him with all the indignities that usually follow in its train; and he was thus rudely schooled into the advantages of possessing money, when he had hitherto thought but of the generous pleasure of dispensing it. No stronger proof, indeed, is wanting of the effect of such difficulties in tempering down even the most chivalrous pride, than the necessity to which he found himself reduced in 1816, not only of departing from his resolution never to profit by the sale of his works, but of accepting a sum of money, for copyright, from his publisher, which he had for some time persisted in refusing for himself, and, in the full sincerity of his generous heart, had destined for others.
The injustice and malice to which he soon after became a victim had an equally fatal effect in disenchanting the dream of his existence. Those imaginary, or, at least, retrospective sorrows, in which he had once loved to indulge, and whose tendency it was, through the medium of his fancy, to soften and refine his heart, were now exchanged for a host of actual, ignoble vexations, which it was even more humiliating than painful to encounter. His misanthropy, instead of being, as heretofore, a vague and abstract feeling, without any object to light upon, and losing therefore its acrimony in diffusion, was now, by the hostility he came in contact with, condensed into individual enmities, and narrowed into personal resentments; and from the lofty, and, as it appeared to himself, philosophical luxury of hating mankind in the gross, he was now brought down to the self-humbling necessity of despising them in detail.
By all these influences, so fatal to enthu
siasm of character, and forming, most of them, indeed, a part of the ordinary process by which hearts become chilled and hardened in the world, it was impossible but that some material change must have been effected in a disposition at once so susceptible and tenacious of impressions. By compelling him to concentre himself in his own resources and energies, as the only stand now left against the world's injustice, his enemies but succeeded in giving to the principle of selfdependence within him a new force and spring which, however it added to the vigour of his character, could not fail, by bringing Self so much into action, to impair a little its amiableness. Among the changes in his disposition, attributable mainly to this source, may be mentioned that diminished deference to the opinions and feelings of others which, after this compulsory rally of all his powers of resistance, he exhibited. Some portion, no doubt, of this refractoriness may be accounted for by his absence from all those whose slightest word or look would have done more with him than whole volumes of correspondence; but by no cause less powerful and revulsive than the struggle in which he had been committed could a disposition naturally diffident as his was, and diffident even through all this excitement, have been driven into the assumption of a tone so universally defying, and so full, if not of pride in his own pre-eminent powers, of such a contempt for some of the ablest among his contemporaries, as almost implied it. It was, in fact, as has been more than once remarked in these pages, a similar stirring up of all the best and worst elements of his nature, to that which a like rebound against injustice had produced in his youth; - though with a difference in point of force and grandeur, between the two explosions, almost as great as between the outbreaks of a firework and a volcano.
Another consequence of the spirit of defiance now roused in him, and one that tended, perhaps, even more fatally than any yet mentioned, to sully and, for a time, bring down to earth the romance of his character, was the course of life to which, outrunning even the licence of his youth, he abandoned himself at Venice. From this, as from his earlier excesses, the timely warning of disgust soon rescued him; and the connection with Madame Guiccioli which followed, and which, however much to be reprehended, had in it all of marriage that his real marriage wanted, seemed to place, at length, within reach of his affectionate spirit that union and sympathy for which, through life, it had thirsted. But the treasure came too
"And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
This laughter, which, in such temperaments, is the near neighbour of tears,served as a diversion to him from more painful vents of bitterness; and the same philosophical calculation which made the poet of melancholy, Young, declare that “he preferred laughing at the world to being angry with it," led Lord Byron also to settle upon the same conclusion; and to feel, in the misanthropic views he was inclined to take of mankind, that mirth often saved him the pain of hate.
late; the pure poetry of the feeling had vanished; and those tears he shed so passionately in the garden at Bologna flowed less, perhaps, from the love which he felt at that moment, than from the saddening consciousness how differently he could have felt formerly. It was, indeed, wholly beyond the power, even of an imagination like his, to go on investing with its own ideal glories a sentiment which, — more from daring and vanity than from any other impulse, - he had taken such pains to tarnish and debase in his own eyes. Accordingly, instead of being able, as once, to elevate and embellish all that interested him, to make an idol of That, with so many drawbacks upon all every passing creature of his fancy, and mis- generous effusions of sentiment, he should take the form of love, which he so often still have preserved so much of his native conjured up, for its substance, he now de- tenderness and ardour as is conspicuous, generated into the wholly opposite and per- through all disguises, in his unquestionable verse error of depreciating and making light love for Madame Guiccioli, and in the still of what, intrinsically, he valued, and, as the more undoubted zeal with which he now reader has seen, throwing slight and mockery entered, heart and soul, into the great cause upon a tie in which it was evident some of of human freedom, wheresoever or by whomthe best feelings of his nature were wrapped soever asserted 2,-only shows how rich up. That foe to all enthusiasm and romance, must have been the original stores of sensithe habit of ridicule, had, in proportion as bility and enthusiasm which even a career he exchanged the illusions for the realities such as his could so little chill or exhaust. of life, gained further empire over him; and Most consoling, too, is it to reflect that the how far it had, at this time, encroached upon few latter years of his life should have been the loftier and fairer regions of his mind may thus visited with a return of that poetic be seen in the pages of Don Juan, that lustre, which, though it never had ceased to diversified arena, on which the two Genii, surround the bard, had but too much faded good and evil, that governed his thoughts, away from the character of the man; and hold, with alternate triumph, their ever- that while Love, reprehensible as it was, powerful combat. but still Love, — had the credit of rescuing him from the only errors that disgraced his maturer years, for Liberty was reserved the proud but mournful triumph of calling the last stage of his glorious course her own, and lighting him, amidst the sympathies of the world, to his grave.
Even this, too, this vein of mockery,-in the excess to which, at last, he carried it, was but another result of the shock his proud mind had received from those events that had cast him off, branded and heartstricken, from country and from home. he himself touchingly says,
1f" Now my sere fancy falls into the yellow
Leaf,' and Imagination droops her pinion,
'Tis that I may not weep; and if I weep,
Itself to apathy, for we must steep
2 Among his "Detached Thoughts "I find this general passion for liberty thus strikingly expressed. After saying, in reference to his own choice of Venice as a place of residence, "I remembered General Ludlow's domal inscription, Omne solum forti patria,' and sat down free in a country which had been one of slavery for centuries," he adds, "But there is no freedom, even for
masters, in the midst of slaves. It makes my blood boil to see the thing. I sometimes wish that I was the owner of Africa, to do at once what Wilberforce will do in time, viz, sweep slavery from her deserts, and look on upon the first dance of their freedom.
"As to political slavery, so general, it is men's own fault: if they will be slaves, let them! Yet it is but a word and a blow.' See how England formerly, France, Spain, Portugal, America, Switzerland, freed themselves! There is no one instance of a long contest in which men did not triumph over systems. If Tyranny misses her first spring, she is cowardly as the tiger, and retires to be hunted."
["O Wilberforce! thou man of black renown,
Whose merit none enough can sing or say, Thou hast struck one immense Colossus down, Thou moral Washington of Africa."
Don Juan, c. xiv. st. 8.]
'Ravenna, January 4. 1821. A sudden thought strikes me.' Let me begin a Journal once more. The last I kept was in Switzerland, in record of a tour made in the Bernese Alps, which I made to send to my sister in 1816, and I suppose that she has it still, for she wrote to me that she was pleased with it. Another, and longer, I kept in 1813-1814, which I gave to Thomas Moore in the same year.
"This morning I gat me up late, as usual weather bad-bad as England - -worse. The snow of last week melting to the sirocco
1 ["Richardson seems to have joined Aaron Hill in the cuckoo-song, that Pope had written himself out; and the dislike which he manifests towards Fielding, breaks out too often, and is too anxiously veiled under an affectation of charity and candour, not to lead us to suspect that the author of Tom Jones was at least as obnoxious to Richardson through the success, as from the alleged immorality, of his productions."- SIR WALTER SCOTT: Prose Works, vol. iii. p. 19.]
2 ["A gentleman, who had lately been at Paris, sought, while in a large company at Richardson's villa, to gratify the landlord by informing him that he had seen his Clarissa lying on the king's brother's table. Richardson observing that a part of the company were engaged in conversation apart, affected not to hear what had been
of to-day, so that there were two d-d things at once. Could not even get to ride on horseback in the forest. Stayed at home all the morning-looked at the fire wondered when the post would come. Post came at the Ave Maria, instead of half-past one o'clock, as it ought. Galignani's Messengers, six in number a letter from Faenza, but none from England. Very sulky in consequence (for there ought to have been letters), and ate in consequence a copious dinner; for when I am vexed, it makes me swallow quicker - but drank very little.
"I was out of spirits-read the papers thought what fame was, on reading, in a case of murder, that Mr. Wych, grocer, at Tunbridge, sold some bacon, flour, cheese, and, it is believed, some plums, to some gipsy woman accused. He had on his counter (I quote faithfully) a book, the Life of Pamela, which he was tearing for waste paper, &c. &c. In the cheese was found, &c. and a leaf of Pamela wrapt round the bacon.' What would Richardson, the vainest and luckiest of living authors (i. e. while alive)-he who, with Aaron Hill, used to prophesy and chuckle over the presumed fall of Fielding (the prose Homer of human nature) and of Pope (the most beautiful of poets)- what would he have said, could he have traced his pages from their place on the French prince's toilets (see Boswell's Johnson) to the grocer's counter and the gipsy-murderess's bacon!!! 3
"What would he have said? what can any body say, save what Solomon said long before us? After all, it is but passing from one counter to another, from the bookseller's to the other tradesman's-grocer or pastrycook. For my part, I have met with most poetry upon trunks; so that I am apt to consider the trunk-maker as the sexton of authorship.
said, but took advantage of the first general pause to address the gentleman with Sir, I think you were saying something about '— and then stopped in a flutter of expectation; which his guest mortified by replying, 'A mere trifle, sir, not worth repeating." — Boswell's Johnson.]
3 ["What a master of composition Fielding was! Upon my word, I think the Edipus Tyrannus, the Alchemist, and Tom Jones the three most perfect plots ever planned. And how charming, how wholesome, Fielding always is! To take him up after Richardson, is like emerging from a sick room heated by stoves into an open lawn on a breezy day in May."- Coleridge's Table Talk.]